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Tum'at Met - Chapter 13

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Tum'at Met - Chapter 13


Whenever there is a covering that is a handbreadth by a handbreadth that is a handbreadth high, it is considered an ohel, as we explained. It intervenes in the face of ritual impurity and conveys ritual impurity whether it was made as a shelter or came into being as a matter of course. Even if it was brought into being without human activity, it conveys ritual impurity and intervenes in the face of it.

What is implied? If there was a cavern that was hollowed out by water or crawling animals or even if the earth itself cratered or one gathered stone and beams and created a covered space of a handbreadth, it is considered as an ohel and it conveys ritual impurity and intervenes in the face of it.


כָּל טֶפַח עַל טֶפַח בְּרוּם טֶפַח קָרוּי אֹהֶל כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וְחוֹצֵץ בִּפְנֵי הַטֻּמְאָה וּמֵבִיא אֶת הַטֻּמְאָה בֵּין שֶׁעֲשָׂאָהוּ לְהַאֲהִיל בֵּין שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה מֵאֵלָיו אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה שֶׁלֹּא בִּידֵי אָדָם הֲרֵי זֶה מֵבִיא וְחוֹצֵץ. כֵּיצַד. אֶחָד חוֹר שֶׁחָרְרוּהוּ מַיִם אוֹ שְׁרָצִים אוֹ שֶׁאֲכָלַתּוּ מְלַחַת אוֹ שֶׁצָּבַר אֲבָנִים אוֹ קוֹרוֹת וְנַעֲשָׂה בָּהֶן חֲלַל טֶפַח הֲרֵי זֶה אֹהֶל וּמֵבִיא וְחוֹצֵץ:


When does the above apply? When the ohel was strong and sturdy. A unstable ohel, by contrast, does not convey ritual impurity, nor does it intervene in the face of ritual impurity according to Scriptural Law. According to Rabbinic Law, by contrast, it conveys ritual impurity, but does not intervene in the face of it.

What is implied? When branches of trees that hang over the earth which are called sichachot and stones which project outward from a wall that hang over the earth and are called peraot are sturdy enough to carry an average ceiling and remain standing, they convey impurity and intervene in the face of it according to Scriptural Law. If they are not sturdy enough to carry an average ceiling and would fall, they convey impurity according to Rabbinic decree and do not intervene in the face of it. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.


בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁהָיָה הָאֹהֶל חָזָק וּבָרִיא. אֲבָל אֹהֶל רָעוּעַ אֵינוֹ מֵבִיא אֶת הַטֻּמְאָה וְאֵינוֹ חוֹצֵץ בִּפְנֵי הַטֻּמְאָה מִן הַתּוֹרָה. אֲבָל מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים מֵבִיא אֶת הַטֻּמְאָה וְאֵינוֹ חוֹצֵץ. כֵּיצַד. שָׂרִיגֵי הָאִילָנוֹת הַסּוֹכְכִים עַל הָאָרֶץ וְהֵן הַנִּקְרָאִים סְכָכוֹת. וַאֲבָנִים הַיּוֹצְאוֹת מִן הַגָּדֵר הַסּוֹכְכוֹת עַל הָאָרֶץ וְהֵן הַנִּקְרָאִין פְּרָעוֹת אִם יְכוֹלִין לְקַבֵּל מַעֲזִיבָה בֵּינוֹנִית וְהֵן עוֹמְדִין הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מְבִיאִין וְחוֹצְצִין מִן הַתּוֹרָה. וְאִם אֵינָן רְאוּיִין לְקַבֵּל מַעֲזִיבָה בֵּינוֹנִית אֶלָּא הֵן נוֹפְלִים הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מְבִיאִין מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם וְאֵינָן חוֹצְצִין. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן:


These substances convey ritual impurity and intervene in the face of it: oversized wooden vessels, keilim made from stone, animal turds, or earth that are oversized, simple leather keilim, a curtain, a sheet, or a reed mat that are made like tents, animals or beasts, whether kosher or non-kosher, provided the head of one is placed between the legs of another and they are flush against each other, a bird that rests, one who digs out a place for a child in a grainheap to save him from the sun, and food that was not made ready to be susceptible to ritual impurity so that it would not become impure.

When vegetables continue to grow in the summer and the winter, they are considered like trees and convey ritual impurity and intervene in the face of it. Among those in this category are: mint, bindweed, wild gourd, and Greek squash. Similarly, all of the following - branches of trees that hang over the earth, stones which project outward from a wall, projections, balconies, dovecotes, the clefts of stones, stones that stick out of a wall, the arches of a wall, and stony precipices - convey ritual impurity and intervene in the face of it.


אֵלּוּ מְבִיאִין וְחוֹצְצִין. כְּלִי עֵץ הַבָּא בְּמִדָּה. וְכֵן כְּלֵי אֲבָנִים כְּלֵי גְּלָלִים כְּלֵי אֲדָמָה הַבָּאִין בְּמִדָּה. וּפְשׁוּטֵי כְּלֵי עוֹר וִירִיעָה וְסָדִין וּמַפָּץ וּמַחְצֶלֶת שֶׁהֵן עֲשׂוּיִין אֹהָלִים. וּבְהֵמוֹת אוֹ חַיּוֹת בֵּין טְמֵאוֹת בֵּין טְהוֹרוֹת וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה רֹאשׁ זוֹ בֵּין רַגְלֵי זוֹ וְהָיוּ כֻּלָּן דְּבוּקוֹת. וְהָעוֹף שֶׁשָּׁכַן. וְהַחוֹטֵט בַּשִּׁבֳּלִים מָקוֹם לְקָטָן לְהַצִּילוֹ מִן הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ. וָאֳכָלִין שֶׁאֵינָן מֻכְשָׁרִין כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִטַּמְּאוּ. יְרָקוֹת הַמִּתְקַיְּמִין בִּימוֹת הַחַמָּה וְהַגְּשָׁמִים הֲרֵי הֵן כְּאִילָנוֹת וּמְבִיאִין וְחוֹצְצִין. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. הָאִרוּס וְהַקִּיסוֹם וִירָקוֹת חֲמוֹר וּדְלַעַת יְוָנִית. וְכֵן הַסְּכָכוֹת וְהַפְּרָעוֹת וְהַזִּיזִין וְהַגְּזוּרוֹת וְהַשּׁוֹבָכוֹת וְהַשְּׁקִיפִין וְהַסְּלָעִים וְהַנְּחִירִים וְהַשְּׁנִינִין. כָּל אֵלּוּ מְבִיאִין וְחוֹצְצִין:


The following convey ritual impurity, but do not intervene in the face of it: a human being, wooden vessels that are not oversized, because they are like all other keilim and convey ritual impurity, simple leather keilim, a curtain, a sheet, or a reed mat that are not made like tents, but merely extended outward, without being on a slant or having walls, an animal or a beast that died, and impure foods or foods that were made susceptible to ritual impurity, for an impure substance does not intervene in the face of ritual impurity, and a hand mill, because it is in the category of stone keilim. All of these convey ritual impurity, but do not intervene in the face of it.


וְאֵלּוּ מְבִיאִין וְלֹא חוֹצְצִין. הָאָדָם. וּכְלֵי עֵץ שֶׁאֵינָן בָּאִין בְּמִדָּה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן כְּכָל הַכֵּלִים וּמִתְטַמְּאִין. וּפְשׁוּטֵי כְּלֵי עוֹר וִירִיעָה וְסָדִין וּמַפָּץ וּמַחְצֶלֶת שֶׁאֵין עֲשׂוּיִין אֹהָלִים אֶלָּא מְתוּחִין בִּלְבַד וְאֵין לָהֶן שִׁפּוּעַ וְאֵין שָׁם כְּתָלִים. וּבְהֵמָה וְחַיָּה שֶׁמֵּתוּ. וָאֳכָלִין טְמֵאִין אוֹ מֻכְשָׁרִין. שֶׁדָּבָר טָמֵא אֵינוֹ חוֹצֵץ. וְרֵחַיִם שֶׁל יָד שֶׁהֲרֵי הִיא בִּכְלַל כְּלֵי אֲבָנִים. כָּל אֵלּוּ מְבִיאִין וְאֵינָן חוֹצְצִין:


The following articles neither convey ritual impurity, nor do they intervene in the face of it: seeds, vegetables that are still connected to the ground with the exception of the four vegetables mentioned, a mound of hail, snow, sleet, ice, or salt, one who skips from place to place, one who runs from place to place, a bird that flies freely, a garment flying in the wind, or a ship that floats on the water. All these neither convey ritual impurity, nor do they intervene in the face of it. Although they create a covering, the covering is not lasting.


וְאֵלּוּ לֹא מְבִיאִין וְלֹא חוֹצְצִין. הַזְּרָעִים וְהַיְרָקוֹת הַמְחֻבָּרִין לַקַּרְקַע. חוּץ מִן הָאַרְבַּע יְרָקוֹת שֶׁמָּנִינוּ. וְכִפַּת הַבָּרָד וְהַשֶּׁלֶג וְהַכְּפוֹר וְהַגְּלִיד וְהַמֶּלַח. וְהַדּוֹלֵג מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם. וְהַקּוֹפֵץ מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם. וְהָעוֹף הַפּוֹרֵחַ. וְטַלִּית הַמְנַפְנֶפֶת. וּסְפִינָה שֶׁהִיא שָׁטָה עַל פְּנֵי הַמַּיִם. כָּל אֵלּוּ לֹא מְבִיאִין וְלֹא חוֹצְצִין שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֶאֱהִילוּ אֵינוֹ אֹהֶל הַמִּתְקַיֵּם:


If one tied a ship to something that could anchor it or covered the corner of a garment with a stone, it conveys ritual impurity.


קָשַׁר אֶת הַסְּפִינָה בְּדָבָר שֶׁהוּא יָכוֹל לְהַעֲמִידָהּ. כָּבַשׁ כְּנַף הַטַּלִּית בְּאֶבֶן הֲרֵי זוֹ מְבִיאָה אֶת הַטֻּמְאָה:


When there is a board floating in the water and there is impurity under one of its sides, the keilim under its other side are pure. The rationale is that, as we already explained, a ship that is floating does not convey impurity.


נֶסֶר שֶׁהוּא צָף עַל פְּנֵי הַמַּיִם וְטֻמְאָה תַּחַת צִדּוֹ הָאֶחָד. הֲרֵי הַכֵּלִים שֶׁתַּחַת צִדּוֹ הַשֵּׁנִי טְהוֹרִים. שֶׁהֲרֵי כְּבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ שֶׁהַסְּפִינָה הַשָּׁטָה אֵינָהּ מְבִיאָה הַטֻּמְאָה:


The following entities intervene in the face of ritual impurity, but do not convey impurity]: the threads of the woof on a weaver's loom, the cords of a bed, a net on which fertilizer is held, and lattice shades for windows.

How do they intervene in the face of impurity? If there was a window between two houses, impurity was found in one house, and one of these entities is extended over this window and covers it, it serves as an intervening substance and prevents impurity from entering the second house. This applies even if there is open space within the intervening article, provided there is not a square handbreadth of empty space in this lattice work, net, or cords. If there is a square handbreadth of empty space, impurity will enter as will be explained.


אֵלּוּ חוֹצְצִין וְלֹא מְבִיאִין. מַסֶּכֶת פְּרוּסָה. וַחֲבִילֵי מִטָּה. וְהַמִּשְׁפָּלוֹת. וְהַסְּרִיגוֹת שֶׁבַּחַלּוֹנוֹת. כֵּיצַד הֵן חוֹצְצִין. שֶׁאִם הָיָה חַלּוֹן בֵּין שְׁנֵי בָּתִּים וְהַטֻּמְאָה בְּבַיִת אֶחָד וְהָיָה אֶחָד מֵאֵלּוּ מָתוּחַ בְּחַלּוֹן זֶה וּסְתָמוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בֵּינֵיהֶן אֲוִיר הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ חוֹצְצִין וְלֹא תִּכָּנֵס טֻמְאָה לְבַיִת שֵׁנִי. וְהוּא שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה שָׁם בִּסְרִיגוֹת אֵלּוּ אוֹ בְּעֵינֵי הַמִּשְׁפָּלוֹת אוֹ בֵּין חֶבֶל לְחֶבֶל פּוֹתֵחַ טֶפַח שֶׁאִם הָיָה שָׁם פּוֹתֵחַ טֶפַח תִּכָּנֵס בּוֹ הַטֻּמְאָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר:

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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